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IES Grant

Title: Student Self-Management System (SSMS): Reducing Problem Behavior in Upper Elementary Classrooms by Transferring Externally Applied Teacher Controls to Internally Applied Student Controls
Center: NCSER Year: 2011
Principal Investigator: Marquez, Brion Awardee: IRIS Media, Inc.
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3/1/2011–2/28/2014 Award Amount: $1,484,881
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A110074

Purpose: Students in upper elementary school face increasing school demands and expectations for self-monitoring their behavior and learning. A significant proportion of student misbehavior can be attributed to poor self-management skills and lack of impulse control. Despite evidence for the potential of student self-management interventions to reduce problem behaviors, research on self-management programs has yet to be translated into effective, practical tools for widespread implementation at the classroom level. The research team will develop and pilot test a self-management intervention, Student Self-Management System (SSMS), for students with or at risk for disabilities who exhibit problem behavior in the classroom in Grades 3 through 6.

Project activities: The researchers will use an iterative formative evaluation process to develop the self-management intervention. Focus groups will provide data to develop the components of the intervention, namely the content of the student learning materials, teacher learning materials, the progress monitoring tool, and professional development for behavior specialists. After content is developed, a feasibility study will be completed in order to refine content and delivery. The three modules will then be combined into a single program and the research team will pilot test the program and assess changes in (a) student social, self-management, and academic behavior; (b) teacher and behavior specialist satisfaction, self-efficacy, and knowledge about student behavior; and (c) satisfaction with the intervention by all users.

Products: Products include a fully developed Student Self-Management System and published reports on the development and promise of this intervention.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The project will take place in public elementary schools in Oregon and California.

Population: Approximately 10 behavior specialists and 10 teachers will participate in each of three focus groups. Key informant interviews will be conducted with two school district administrators, two elementary school principals, and two special education behavior specialists. For the feasibility studies of the progress monitoring tool, 20 teachers will be recruited. Approximately 40 elementary school behavior specialists, 80 teachers, and 160 students will participate in the pilot study. Students are identified through a teacher screening as lacking in self-management skills.

Intervention: The intervention will be implemented by behavior specialists and will be available as three modules on a media-enhanced Internet platform ( This platform has an infrastructure that supports training (video, multimedia, and interactive applications) and assessment. Module 1 will provide student learning materials that demonstrate the steps of student self-management. Module 2 will provide an online screening and progress monitoring tool (the PMT) that allows teachers to identify and monitor students needing additional supports, and contains a menu of in-class supports and resources. Module 3 will provide behavior specialists with professional development training resources and provide out-of-class supports for use with identified students.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will use an iterative formative evaluation process using focus groups and key informant interviews to develop the content of each of the three modules. This will be followed by a feasibility study to refine content and delivery of the modules. Project consultants and key informants will review the validity and appropriateness of program content and advise on issues of diversity and cultural sensitivity, technology use, and developmental appropriateness. Once each of the three modules has been developed, they will be combined into a single program and the feasibility of the full program will be assessed to ascertain the potential impact of the intervention on changes in (a) student social, self-management, and academic behavior; (b) teacher and behavior specialist satisfaction, self-efficacy, and knowledge about student behavior; and (c) satisfaction with the intervention by all users.

Control Group: There is no control group.

Key Measures: A variety of measures will be modified or adapted for use in the project, including the Stages of Concerns (SOC) Questionnaire (to assess changes in knowledge), the Efficacy in the Classroom Management Subscale and Teacher Sense of Efficacy (TSE) Scale (to assess staff's perceived self-efficacy), the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (to assess user behavior), and other instruments to assess user satisfaction, program implementation, and program usage. Student outcomes include behavioral data collected via the progress monitoring tool developed during this project and teacher ratings via the Walker-McConnell Scale of Social Competence and School Adjustment (to assess student social, self-management, and academic behavior).

Data Analytic Strategy: Descriptive analyses will be used for the formative iterative development of the program modules and the feasibility study of the complete program. Measures of implementation attempts, user satisfaction, and usage logs will be analyzed to demonstrate the feasibility of the online program. A multi-level change-score analysis will be used to evaluate improvements in student social, academic, and self-management behavior and teacher knowledge, attitudes, behavioral intentions, and self-efficacy after using the online training program. The researchers will also analyze gains in knowledge, attitudes, behavioral intentions, and self-efficacy of behavior specialists. A dose-response analysis of correlations between usage and change measures will determine whether those staff who used the program more achieved greater benefits.

Products and Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Marquez, B., Marquez, J., Vincent, C., Pennefather, J., Sprague, J., Smolkowski, K., & Yeaton, P. (2014). The iterative development and initial evaluation of We Have Skills!, an innovative approach to teaching social skills to elementary students. Education and Treatment of Children, 37(1), 137–161.